Italy court again postpones Berlusconi corruption trial

Italy court again postpones Berlusconi corruption trial

[JURIST] The corruption trial of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi [official website, in Italian; BBC profile] resumed Friday but was immediately postponed to February 27. Judges for the tenth section of the Milan Tribunal [official website, in Italian] postponed the trial [Corriere della Sera report, in Italian] as requested by Berlusconi's lawyers but refused their request to have earlier proceedings thrown out. Berlusconi is accused of paying his former lawyer David Mills [JURIST news archive] as much as $600,000 to Mills to provide false testimony at two trials in 1997 and 1998 involving Berlusconi's broadcasting company, Mediaset [corporate website, in Italian]. Berlusconi's trial was postponed so that Mills's final appeal of his conviction and sentence will be concluded. Berlusconi's lawyers argued [CP report] that the the Mills case might affect his, and the statute of limitations has been frozen until a new date.

This is the second time the corruption case against Berlusconi has been reopened and then delayed since a law granting him immunity from prosecution was thrown out [JURIST reports] by the Italian Constitutional Court [official website, in Italian] in October. He is also facing a separate trial for tax fraud which was postponed [JURIST report] in November until this month. Berlusconi has faced trial on at least six occasions involving charges of false accounting, tax fraud, money laundering, embezzlement, and giving false testimony [JURIST reports]. In October 2007, Berlusconi's April 2007 acquittal on bribery charges was upheld [JURIST reports]. In 2005, Berlusconi was acquitted of corruption charges despite testimony accusing him of giving kickbacks to the late Socialist premier Bettino Craxi [JURIST report].